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Jamaican Oxtail Stew

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You are going to love this Jamaican oxtail stew! It’s a one pot meal that’s packed with amazing flavours.

Growing up in California, I used to love going to San Francisco and dining at one of the many Jamaican restaurants. Jamaican oxtail stew was one of my favourites. It’s one of the first Jamaican recipes I learned to make and now I’m happy to have the chance to share it with you. 

Jamaican oxtail stew

Cooked in one pot. Super easy. Try this Jamaican oxtail stew!

What’s makes this Jamaican oxtail stew so good?

You will see in the recipe card below and the step by step photos that there are a lot of ingredients. Don’t let that scare you off though as these ingredients are needed and they go so well together.

Marinating the meat in the rich marinade and then frying and simmering it for hours makes this Jamaican oxtail stew one that is simply not to be missed. So yes, there are a lot of ingredients but the actual cooking of the dish is super easy.

Well, that said, I should probably say it’s almost easy to make as when in that last hour of cooking, it the aroma is so amazing and it’s really difficult not to dig in before it’s finished cooking.

Are there any difficult to find ingredients?

Not really. In fact, most you might already have in your cupboard or fridge. Those that are perhaps a bit difficult to find can be purchased online.

One of the ingredients that is difficult to find where I live in the UK is browning sauce. You’ll find that online even if it isn’t at your local supermarket. It’s easy to make though if you must. That, or just leave it out.

The browning sauce adds flavour but you don’t want to use too much of it or your stew might taste bitter.

Can Jamaican oxtail stew be cooked in a countertop pressure cooker?

Yes. If you cook as I’ve done in the recipe below on the stove, it takes about 3 hours. 

Place all the ingredients in a pressure cooker, set to high and you can cook this Jamaican oxtail stew in about an hour. You might, however need to cook it down some at the end to thicken the sauce.

Is Jamaican oxtail stew spicy?

It can be. The recipe below is mildly spiced as I used two scotch bonnet chillies. If you would like it spicier, use more or leave them out for a milder stew.

Is there a substitute for the scotch bonnet chillies?

Yes. You could use habanero chillies instead. If you can’t get hold of those, you could use other chillies. Just remember that chillies vary in how spicy they are so consider this when adding. The scotch bonnets and habaneros are very spicy but they have a delicious flavour too. 

If you would like the flavour of those chillies without all the heat, remove the seeds and membranes. 

Step by step photos with instructions.

Ingredients for Jamaican oxtail stew

There are a lot of ingredients. Get them together before starting! It’s easier that way.

Blending the green paste ingredients

Blend the green paste ingredients first. This can be done a couple of days ahead of cooking if more convenient.

Marinating the oxtail in the dry and wet marinades.

Marinating the oxtail in the dry and wet marinades. The beef needs to marinate for at least an hour or overnight. The longer the better.

Frying the oxtail.

Wipe off the excess marinade and retain it. Then fry the meat in batches to brown.

Adding the stew ingredients to the pan.

Place all of the browned meat, the retained green paste, ketchup, chopped tomatoes, soy sauce and browning sauce in the pan over a medium high heat. Then add the chopped onion, celery, carrot, chopped ginger and garlic.

Adding the chilli and beef stock to the pan.

Add the sliced habanero chilli to the pan and pour in just enough beef stock to cover.

Simmering the Jamaican oxtail stew.

Bring to a simmer and then reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered for 3 hours. When the meat is tender, stir in the butter beans and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Be sure to try the Jamaican beef stew before serving!

Once the meat is tender, go ahead and try it. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Is it spicy enough? This recipe is quite mild but you could add chilli powder or chopped chillies to spice it up if you like. 

Here are a few other spicy recipe you might like to try…

Pork Vindaloo
Korean Fried Chicken
Korean Braised Beef Stew
Beef Pho

Jamaican oxtail stew

Dig in!

Yield: 4 - 6

Jamaican Oxtail Stew

Jamaican oxtail stew
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours


  • ½ cup fresh coriander
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (leaves and tender stems), roughly chopped
  • 10 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from the stems
  • 2 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 10 clove cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 in) ginger, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil (or more if needed to blend)
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 ½ kg (5 lb) oxtail
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 12 allspice berries or 2 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 3 generous tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp browning sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 x 2.5cm (1 inch) ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet chilli, slit down the middle
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 celery sticks, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 400ml tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • Water or beef stock to cover
  • 1 tin butter beans
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4 limes


  1. Place all of the green paste ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend to a smooth but still a bit chunky paste. Set aside.
  2. Now put the oxtails in a large bowl and cover with water. Move the around with your hands to wash off any blood and other impurities. Place the oxtail pieces on a paper towel and tap dry.
  3. Pour the dried meat into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and the juice of two limes, the black pepper and allspice. Mix well to coat the meat and then cover with the green paste stirring well to combine. Allow to marinate for at least an hour or overnight. The longer the better.
  4. When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. When visibly hot, scrape off as much of the marinade as possible and retain the marinade. Add the meat to the pan and cook in batches to brown it for about 5 minutes. I like to see a nice char on both sides of the meat.
  5. Add the retained marinade and stir well to cook out the rawness and then add the remaining ingredients up to and including the ketchup. Stir well to coat and the add just enough water or beef stock to cover. Bring to a simmer over a medium high heat and the lower the heat to medium, cover the pan and allow to simmer gently for 3 hours.
  6. After three hours of simmering, the beef should be fall off the bone tender, if it isn’t, continue simmering with the lid off until it is tender to your liking. Stir in the butter beans.
  7. This stew should have a nice thick sauce that clings to the meaty chunks of oxtail. If the sauce is too thin, you can make a slurry with the cornflour and water and then add it in small amounts to the simmering sauce to thicken some.
  8. Taste the broth and add salt to taste if needed and a few cranks of finely ground black pepper. Add more lime juice to the finished sauce for a tarter flavour if you like.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 564Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 2438mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 12gSugar: 30gProtein: 24g

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